A trigger is a stimulus that causes, generally unfavorable, thoughts or emotions. This can be a wide variety of things such as smells, sounds, touch etc.
Life in infertility and pregnancy loss can lead even the most level-headed person into a plunge of sadness and shame. Have you ever found yourself angry or hurt by something as simple as hearing a song that you’ve heard a hundred times before? Or maybe your best friend got pregnant AGAIN, without even trying. Finding yourself flooded with negative emotions after being triggered is completely normal. But, they can be sneaky and even sometimes surprising. They even can lead to big feelings of guilt and shame; because you’re happy for your friend, but you’re also jealous. These feelings might shift and change with time and maybe even your perception of them can change too. Although, you don’t have control over what triggers you, you may be able to begin the healing process by acknowledging and questioning them.
Let’s take that pregnant best friend trigger and break it down.
- My friend is pregnant with her 2nd baby. She wasn’t even trying!
What were the initial thoughts?
- Why is it always everyone else and not me!?
- My body is broken.
What were the initial emotions?
What is an alternative way to think about what happened?
- “There are so many things that need to go right to make a healthy baby. I am in the presence of a miracle and I am honored to hold space for her.”
- “I am not her and she is not me.”
- “My baby isn’t ready for me just yet.”
How do you feel now?
- A little sad still, but calmer, and excited for when I get to experience my own miracle.
- I’m okay.
The initial thoughts and emotions caused by a trigger are normal and valid; but, how would it feel if you restructured your thinking to change the narrative.
See if you can catch the thoughts that bring up anger and shame and transform them to make space for a better experience.
You cannot change who gets pregnant or when you get triggered. However, by training your brain into new patterns of thinking and new ways to respond, you ultimately are given the gift of freedom.
It’s a practice that takes patience. But hey, you know all about patience, right?! You are a professional at waiting! Start small with just noticing when you feel triggered. Then, work your way out from there. Be gentle with yourself. Even the most mindful mind has days of doubt and fear.